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Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe

Tai-Pan Issue #11
Tai-Pan Issue #11
Covers: Front cover by Terrie Smith, back cover by Susan Woolard.
Stories: "Such Revenge On You Both" by Gene Breshears, illustrated by Steve Corbett, "Chester Was A Pirate" by Chas P. A. Melville, with illustrations by Terrie Smith, and "An Old Joke" by Gerald Perkins, with illustrations by Edd Vick. Also "Roboferret", a cartoon by Steve D. Corbett.
Information: Character updates for Victor Congo, Fubar, Vernia L'Trish, and Domino Lucius Negrio, all from the Iktome.
First printing: March, 1996
Miko's review: Very possibly one of our most satisfying issues for those who don't take to the more epic storylines. "Such Revenge On You Both" is one of my favorite stories by Gene, at least of those we've so far published, and "Chester Was A Pirate" is just an all-around fun story. The story itself was suggested during a writer's meeting -- someone blurted out the phrase, and instantly everyone knew it was the title of a story that someone had to write. We told Chuck to write it, and he did a wonderful job of it! Along with two wonderful stories, you have a fun short-short by Gerald, and quite a bit of very nice artwork filling out the issue
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #12
Tai-Pan Issue #12
Covers: Front cover by Annette Pschirrir and Terrie Smith, back cover by Gary Fletcher.
Stories: "The Truth Will Set You Free" by Mark Allen Davis, with illustrations by Phil Bolton, "In The Country Of The Blind" by Mark Allen Davis, with illustrations by Jeffrey Young and Laura Davis, and "Shore Leave" by Chas PA Melville, with illustrations by Andrew Laverdiere.
Information: Characters introduced: Raifford "Raif" Kincaid (Iktome), Hastimuka Dalal (Ramanujan), and for the Quantum Lady: Miles Adams, Monty Hadwyn, Dr. Allair Justin, "Red" White, and Bernadette White.
First printing: June, 1996
Miko's review: An unusual issue not only because it contains two complete stories by myself, but also because two of the three artists who illustrated those stories are not project members. Phil Bolton is a friend and a Northwest furry artist who agreed to illustrate my story but never created a character for the project and stopped subscribing after three issues. He said that the group project concept was just something that he didn't seem to be able to get into. As for Laura Davis, she is Jeffrey "Taldin" Young's significant other, and a nice person to hang out with at conventions, but has never really been a project member per se. She worked on the illustrations with Jeffrey, trading off inking and pencilling duties in a neat bit of cooperative illustration. And, of course, you also get another of Chuck's wonderful stories, so how can you go wrong?
$ 6.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #13
Tai-Pan Issue #13
Covers: Front cover by Tom Milliorn, and back cover by Chris Geary-Durill.
Stories: "A Dish Served Cold" by Chas P. A. Melville, with illustrations by Chris Geary-Durrill, "God Is A Bullet" by Mark Allen Davis, with illustrations by Tom Milliorn, and "All Alone In The Dark" by Mark Allen Davis, with illustrations by Pole Cat. Also "Poetry From Bottles", cartoon by Andrew Laverdiere.
Information: Character updates for the Iktome: Ishaq Ali, Phineas Jay, Onyx Rodriguez, Santiago "Stiletto" Francisco. For the Quantum Lady: Abigail "Abby" Brewster, Martha Brewster, Leo "Stinger" Stinsky. For the Ramanujan: Prof. Grakul N Jaht, Lena Kaneko. Issue also contains a character gallery featuring Bob Fulton, Paul Patrynskerov, and "Bottles" McCloud.
First printing: November, 1996
Miko's review: This cover was originally planned for the last issue of the Tai-Pan when we were planning to close the fanzine down and go professional. It depicts Frith showing everyone else in the room the front door (and who that might be is left to your imagination). It certainly seems like an appropriate cover for an issue #13 to have!
Our first character gallery was an attempt to publish a few Chester illustrations that were from people besides Terrie Smith. Chester is, after all, probably still the most-recognized character in the Tai-Pan universe, in part because he exists simultaneously in at least one other universe, and in part because he quickly became one of Terrie's favorite subjects, and has remained so. This time around, our character gallery was an attempt to get people to draw a few of the lesser-known characters of the project. Three characters were chosen, but response to it was not as big as we'd hoped. Perhaps, because of that, we haven't done another one, but hopefully we will eventually do this sort of thing again. Now that we have an Artist Contributor's Newsletter, this might be something to consider tossing out to the artists.

As far as the stories, "A Dish Served Cold" and "God Is A Bullet" are effectively parts two and three of a three-story arc that began with "In The Country Of The Blind". This particular storyline does not quite come to an end here, as Bn, the cook of the Iktome, has unfinished business with another of the ship's crew. Chuck continues this plot thread in his portion of "Anniversary Bash". The last story is another of my short-shorts.
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #14
Tai-Pan Issue #14
Covers: Front cover by Chas P. A. Melville, back cover by Kathy Coleman.
Stories: "Icarus" by Chas. P. A. Melville, with illustrations by Annette Pschirrer, "Chain Of Command" by Mark Allen Davis, with illustration by Andrew Laverdiere, "Crossroads" by Kristin E. H. Fontaine, with illustrations by Arion Morgan, and "Repas du Vivant" by A. Shaikman, with illustrations by Conrad Wong. Also includes four poems: "Lament For Zaphyra" by Gene Breshears, "Pirate's Requiem" by Gary Fletcher, "In The Deep Dark" by Julie Rampke, and "What's This?" by Keith Alan Johnson.
Information: Character updates for the Iktome: Cevane Warlock, Avalin Grei, Machiko, Rico Chavez, Chia-Mintay, Tylan, and Donner Hockley.
First printing: March, 1997
Miko's review: In almost every issue of the Tai-Pan you get a story by that Chuck fellow, and that's reason enough to buy it! On those rare occasions when you don't have something from him, then you're almost certain to find something from Gene or something from myself. Toss in an exceptional story from one of our other writers, and you're just about guaranteed some excellent reading!

In my case, as often as not it's another of my short-shorts, which are fun and not too easy to come up with, but aren't as satisfying to read as a nicely written short story. What you have here is just that: a short-short from me, and three very nicely written stories from Mr. Shaikman, Kristin, and that Chuck fellow. Chuck's story is the second from the point of view of the ship's resident ghost. Chuck adopted Icarus after Scott Hungerford left the project, and this haunting story (pardon the pun) is the result.

Meanwhile we have a nice story from Kristin that is only the second Ramanujan story to see publication. It presents a rather different side of the science ship from what you're likely to find in Gene's ongoing epic. Finally, even more removed from the dark, epic style of storytelling, we have a rather unusual and light-hearted story about food, centered around Cory, the Tai-Pan's chef! Very well written and very funny!
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #15
Tai-Pan Issue #15
Covers: Front cover by Susan Woolard, back cover by Mark Allen Davis.
Stories: "Sins Of The Brother" by Gene Breshears, with illustration by Annette Pschirrer and Susan Woolard, "Food For Thought" by Alex Shaikman, with illustrations by Chas P. A. Melville, "Girls We Was" by Julie Rampke, with illustrations by Kathy R. Coleman, and "What If Gary Larson Drew for the Tai-Pan" cartoon by Chas P. A. Melville.
Information: Character updates for the Quantum Lady: Bonehead, Kttk, Tempest MacDuff, Trishka, and Zahara Urbi, and for the Ramanujan: Chandesevti Kirati.
First printing: July, 1997
Miko's review: Allow me to point out that up to this point I've only mentioned those cartoons which were at least one full page and more than one panel -- in other words, ones that contained sequential art that told some sort of story. Thus, I have not mentioned every cartoon found in our issues. This particular cartoon, which (just like Gary Larson's The Far Side) some people found hilarious and some didn't get at all, is only a single panel, but was listed on the contents page so I'm listing it here.
Our second story from that Alex Shaikman fellow is another humorous story involving food, but this time it's set on the Iktome and the main characters are Bn, the ship's cook, and Romi Duplessis, Cori's brother. Another funny, well-written story! Meanwhile, "Girls We Was" is our first story from founding member Julie Rampke, and well worth the wait! But the big story is "Sins Of The Brother", which deserves a little bit of an introduction.

Back when Whitney Ware was in charge of the project, she conceived a major plot in which her character, Satin, was kidnapped during a visit to Azerbaijan. The wolves of Azerbaijani once held an empire that dominated several nearby planets, including Hautakivi (where most of my Vashti cycle takes place) and Hraln, Satin's homeworld. Their empire is now crumbling, but people still remember the roles that Satin and her people and the Azerbaijanis played during the domination of her planet and the eventual war of liberation.

Whitney wrote two stories as part of this plotline, and planned at least one more, for which she wrote a few scenes. However, when she left the project she took her stories with her. This put us in a bit of a bind, since not only was her story central to the Tai-Pan's timeline, but Keith was in the middle of "Sea Of Troubles", a story that followed directly on the heels of Whitney's two stories. In addition, we had some very nice artwork from Susan Woolard for a story that we would never publish.

Enter Gene Breshears and Chuck Melville. Gene wrote "Sins Of The Brother" based on the events that took place in Whitney's never-published "Kyrie Eleison". While Whitney's story was from Satin's point of view, Gene's story is told from the view of the ship and her crew. In retrospect, that may have been the best way to tell the story after all. What we have here is another powerful "epic" Tai-Pan story, and unlike "New Queensland Station" or "Communication", this story is just the opening chapter in what might possibly be the defining Tai-Pan epic.

Following on the heels of Gene's story is Keith's "Sea Of Troubles" (issue #16). Chuck Melville picked up the threads of Whitney's plot after "Sea Of Troubles" and included them in his story "When The Music's Over" (issue #17). In response, Kristin Fontaine found herself duty-bound to "save Satin's soul", and began work on her "One Last Dance", while Gene felt the call to pick up another of Chuck's dangling plot threads in his "Dancing On My Grave". Both of those stories have yet to see publication, but those aren't all... Gene has a couple more stories yet to come that fit into this storyline.

Suffice it to say, if you're looking for a place to start reading that isn't all the way back at issue #1 and #2, then this is a great place to start!
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #16
Tai-Pan Issue #16
Covers: Front cover by Chuck Melville, back cover by Kathy Coleman.
Stories: "Sea Of Troubles" by Keith Alan Johnson, with illustrations by Chas P. A. Melville, "Anniversary Bash Prelude: Riders of the Darkness", by Robert Luoma, Chas P. A. Melville, Mark Allen Davis, Julie Rampke, and Gene Breshears, with illustrations by Edd Vick, "Leah and the Night Visitors" by Mark Allen Davis and Jeffrey Cornish, with illustration by DIna Grozev, and "A Little One-on-One" by Josef Rickets, with illustrations by Polecat.
Information: None.
First printing: November, 1997
Miko's review: As it happens there's an interesting story behind each of the four stories in this issue, and behind the cover as well. Anthony Waters, while doing some spring cleaning, filled a box full of stuff that he no longer wanted but thought the members of the Tai-Pan crew might want, and gave it to Sky Rigdon to pass on to us. Among the stuff in the box was a large cover illustration by Chuck Melville, which most of us had never seen and which Chuck had long since assumed was lost. Gene quickly took possession of this and made it the cover for the first "Anniversary Bash" issue, which turned out to be this one.

"Anniversary Bash" is a group story that Whitney and Anthony helped launch several years ago. Group stories are, by their nature, rather cumbersome, since every writer introduces their own plotlines. "Anniversary Bash" was no exception, and at times bringing everything together into one story and finishing up all of the plotlines seemed like an overwhelmingly impossible task. Many people have worked on it over the years, and it has grown into a mammoth story. Even with a lot of plot-trimming by Gene and the editorial board it's still going to be the longest single story we're ever likely to publish. It's still being written, even as the first chapters are being published, and there's a lot of fun story ahead!

"Sea Of Troubles" I've already said a bit about. Suffice it to say that Keith is an extremely talented writer, and his stories are always a pleasure to read. This particular story is not nearly so light-hearted as "Good Morning Dr. Bot" or his current "Shake It Up, Chickie!" (working title I believe). If you liked "New Queensland Station", which contained a lot of Keith's writing, or you've read "Sins Of The Brother" and want to know what comes next, this is for you.

"Leah And The Night Visitors" is another short-short, this time co-authored with Jeffrey Cornish. At a December writer's meeting, we were supposed to bring something Christmas-related, but as usual I worked on saturday and although I had a non-Tai-Pan idea in mind I had no time to work it up. When I showed up at the meeting I asked to use Gene's computer, and Jeff, who also had brought nothing to read, watched over my shoulder and kibitzed. I explained my idea to him, and he immediately gave me a different way of attacking it that made for a much more immediate story and also neatly tied it into the Tai-Pan universe. In something around an hour we had the story finished, and read it for everyone. The published version is almost completely unchanged.

Finally we have "A Little One-on-One" by Josef Rickets. This was sent to us way back when "Anniversary Bash" was in it's early stages. It was meant to be a part of "Anniversary Bash" itself, but even then we all recognized that it was a complete and rather nifty little story all on it's own. We held on to it until the first chapter of "Anniversary Bash" saw print, and here you have it!
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #17
Tai-Pan Issue #17
Covers: Front cover by Gary Fletcher, back cover by Terrie Smith.
Stories: "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 1: Trembles" by Mark Allen Davis, Chas P. A. Melville, Jeffrey Cornish, Edd Vick, Ingrid Schwarz, Barb Cummings, and Gene Breshears, with illustrations by Jackie Duram-Nilsson, "Tipping The Lady" by Mark Allen Davis with illustrations by Chas P. A. Melville, "Margin Of Error" by Gene Breshears with illustrations by Barbara Cummings, "When the Music's Over" by Chas P. A. Melville, with illustrations by Annette Pschirrer and Susan Woolard, "The Parting Gift" by Richard B. Messer, with illustrations by Terrie Smith, and "And now for something completely different", comic drawn by Chas P. A. Melville and (afterwards) scripted by Jeffrey Taldin Young.
Information: "Ten Years of Anthropomorphic Art and Fiction", article by Gene Breshears on the history of the Tai-Pan Project.
First printing: March, 1998
Miko's review: Our tenth anniversary issue!!! It was never the intention of "Anniversary Bash" to highlight the tenth-year anniversary of the Tai-Pan but it certainly felt appropriate! (To be honest, if we'd known it would take us until 1998 to begin publishing this particular story I'm sure we would have thrown in the towel!) In this issue you have a story featuring every project ship in the Tai-Pan universe: "Anniversary Bash" features the Iktome quite prominently, "The Parting Gift" and "When The Music's Over" are Tai-Pan stories, "Tipping The Lady" is a Quantum Lady story (in case you couldn't tell from the title!) and "Margin Of Error" is the long-awaited second story in Gene's Ramanujan story-arc.

"When The Music's Over" I've already mentioned, but let me add that it's one of the longest and most amazing stories Chuck has yet written for us. Chuck manages to take several dangling plot threads and either advance them or complete them, weaving them all into a single story that is a great joy to read! I know I'm going to look back on these years later in my life and marvel at all of the talented authors and artists that I'm working with now! Likewise, Gene's story is a wonderful piece of work, advancing the plot that he began in "Out Of Place". This story only becomes more fun as it progresses, so watch out for the next couple of installments!

"The Parting Gift" was one of those stories that we sometimes get, which are written by people who have never contacted us or discussed their story ideas with us prior to writing them. This is something that we try to discourage, since writing from limited information and/or making assumptions about our universe and the characters in it can result in a story that has fatal flaws and can't be salvaged. Nobody likes to see that sort of effort wasted, least of all us, since we're always looking for good stories and writers to publish. Happily, in Richard's case his story was really pretty good as is, and although there were some problems to work out, Richard was willing to work with us. The results make for a very nice story.

Many people don't realize how long it can take for a story to see print. There are often rewrites, sometimes several of them, and the illustration itself can take a great deal of time. Some of my stories have taken more than a year to illustrate, and I have had stories spend several years in the editing and rewriting phase. "Sea Of Troubles", "Anniversary Bash", "The Parting Gift", and "A Little One-on-One" are all stories that took a great deal of time to see print.

On the other hand, sometimes you just get lucky. Gene wanted to have a story for each project ship in the 10th Anniversary issue, and was looking for a Quantum Lady story. About that time I wrote "Tipping The Lady", which was one of those stories that just came to me in a flash of inspiration. It was easy to write and I knew it worked the moment I finished it. Gene agreed, Chuck volunteered to illustrate it, and thus it saw print about as quickly as any story has ever seen print in our fanzine. On the other hand, the sequel, "Chasing The Lady" is still being written, and shouldn't see print any time soon.
$ 8.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #18
Tai-Pan Issue #18
Covers: Front cover by Edd Vick. Back cover by Steve Corbett.
Stories: "That Fallen Am I in Dark" by Kathy R. Coleman with illustrations by Gary Fletcher, "The Subtlest Beast" by Gene Breshears with illustrations by Barbara Cummings, "Anniversary Bash Chapter 2: The Luminous Island" by Edd Vick, Jeff Cornish, Gene Breshears, Chas PA Melville, Dana Evans, Chris Geary-Durrill, and Barb Cummings, with illustrations by Tom Milliorn, "Holy War" by Mark Allen Davis with illustration by April Lee.
Information: "From the Readers" our first-ever letter-of-comment column.
First printing: July, 1998
Chuck Melville's review: "That Fallen Am I in Dark" - Kathy Coleman makes an impressive Tai-Pan debut with a story about the Iktome, introducing her character, Raif, one of the rare humans in our stories. Not that there aren't humans in the TP universe, but they've been given generally short shrift, and have only appeared on rare occasion. Here, Kathy not only brings one to center stage, but gives a little hint of some species/racial tensions in civilian life, something else we haven't really touched on much.

"The Subtlest Beast" - Gene branches off from what I've termed as the 'Satin Saga', the series of stories that a few of us wrote independently but hinged very closely together concerning Satin's kidnapping and torture and the long road to recovery. This story begins a new string of stories about Satin's kidnapper, Faust, who becomes a member of the crew as a 'reward' for his aid in recovering Satin from her prison. It's an interesting look into the most enigmatic member of the Tai-Pan crew and the turmoil he creates just by his mere presence onboard. No history and no past, and even Aki can't determine exactly what species he is, and no one can be sure if he's trustworthy. It's also got a cool batch of illustrations by Barb Cummings, whose work I was only marginally aware of before this; very dynamic visuals, with some interesting compositions.

"Anniversary Bash" - Two things struck me about the Bash as we were writing it. The first was that it was the first full-length Tai-Pan novel that we were putting together. The other was that it was rather like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, except that you had to make your own pieces and you had no idea what the connecting pieces made by the other writers were going to look like, or if they would even fit. I wrote the scenes with Bn, including the one where he meets up with Art and Aleks in the bar. This was my chance to follow up the events of "A Dish Served Cold" by getting Bn on the way to getting revenge on Delta.

"What If Matt Groening Drew The Tai-Pan" cartoon - You know, I had completely forgotten about this cartoon by the time it was printed. I didn't even know it was still around; I drew it for a Tai-Pan gathering a few years earlier as a gag, and had assumed it had disappeared. Where Gene found it, I'll never know. (This predates the Gary Larson gag I did for a previous issue.)

"Holy War" - An interesting little tale of how things relate according to personal perspective, kind of a variation of 'one man's ceiling is another man's floor'. And Mark proves once again that he is the master of the short, short, short story. Nothing is more frustrating to me than seeing him pull this off time and time again. How does he do it!?!? I can't even look at a plotline without finding more strings to follow!
Best stand-alone filler illo: Nobody ever mentions the filler art that's contributed by all the artists involved with the Tai-Pan, so I thought I'd mention a few of them. Just keep in mind that 'best' in these examples simply means by my perspective, and that I am not the final authority; your own choices might differ. And I'm only picking from the filler art, not the story illustrations. For this issue, I almost said Chester and Kiakiru by Terrie Smith, but I really like the "Top Of The Food Chain" pic of JT by Barb Cummings. I couldn't really tell you why, but I get a chuckle each time I see it.
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #19
Tai-Pan Issue #19
Covers: Front cover by Chuck Melville. Back cover by Brian Carpenter.
Stories: "The Holly King" by Gene Breshears, with illustrations by Gary Fletcher, "The Geek Stands Alone" by Chuck Melville, with illustrations by Arion Morgan and Daren Bost, "Adventure in the Bazaar" by A. Shaikman, with illustrations by Arion Morgan, "Anniversary Bash Chapter 3: The Moon Sank Behind the Sky" by Edd Vick, Mark Allen Davis, Anthony Waters, Gary Fletcher, Kristin Fontaine, Dana Evans, Chris Geary-Durill, Barb Cummings, Keith Alan Johnson, Chuck Melville, and Gene Breshears, illustrated by Terrie Smith, "A Classic Case" by Mark Allen Davis, illustrated by April Lee.
Information: None.
Price: $5 US
First printing: November, 1998
Chuck Melville's review: I did the cover for this issue, and, for the record, it is the first and thus far only fully painted cover done for the 'zine. Of course, you can't really tell, because in order to reproduce it for a fanzine, I scanned it and transferred it to a black and white screened version.

"The Holly King" - An intriguing Christmas story which not only reveals an unusual and disturbing look into the dark past of a Tai-Pan crewmember, but also reassures us that Christmas will, in fact, still be celebrated on some worlds in the far future. It's also intriguing because there's no real indication as to -which- Tai-Pan crewmember the story is about (although the Gary Fletcher illustrations kinda give it away), or that it even -is- about one of the crew, but you can guess through the dialogue and incident as to who.it is. I'm not saying; I've already said too much.

"The Geek Stands Alone" - My intentions behind writing this story was to use a character that seemed to be generally disliked and ignored by everybody, to the point of having him killed off in a previous story. But I'm kind of funny in that, the character was there, he had been a crew member, and I just didn't feel he could be ignored. And, frankly, I don't believe there's really any such thing as a 'bad' character; it's all how you use them. Besides... he was so weird, there -had- to be story potential there. And, anyway, I'd threatened Whitney before she left that I would write a story about the Geek, just because. So I did.

"Adventures In The Bazaar" - This is a story about one of the ship's 'invisible' crewmembers, who doesn't get much play. There are several crewmembers who don't get written about much, unfortunately, because there are so many to begin with, and we all tend to have our favorites that we keep coming back to. But Alex introduces his character, Frederick Dai Jung (or simply Dai), a husky, with the beginnings of a shipboard romance with the ship's cook, Cory.

"A Classic Case" - Mark does it again!! How does he do it!? A complete story that barely takes up half-a-page!! (This might seem silly to the casual reader, but these short, short stories are an artform unto themselves. They're not that easy to do; you have to keep the word count low and still satisfy the conditions for a story: set-up, advancement, resolution, characterization, etc. It's not easy to get all that into a hundred words, and yet Mark keeps pulling them out of his hat! And he doesn't even -have- a hat!)

"Anniversary Bash" pt 3 - Among the events in this chapter we learn the mysterious link between Frith and the Malevolent Tyne, Kansas Station is rocked by a severe moonquake, Isis and Dr Bot rescue victims from a whorehouse, and Karaya gets an ear pierced. Only one scene is mine, and that's the final scene in the chapter, where Bn rides out the earthquake with several other crew in the hotel room. Especially noteworthy is that we get a beautiful batch of pictures from Terrie that -don't- feature Chester for a change.

Best stand-alone filler illo: Mandy Steel, by David Zawataj. The instruments and equipment look appropriately futuristic, and I like how he appears to be moving with a casual ease.
$ 5.00
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Tai-Pan Issue #20
Tai-Pan Issue #20
Covers: Front cover by David Zawitaj. Back cover by Gary Fletcher.
Stories: "Phantom Pain" by Gene Breshears, illustrated by David Zawitaj; "Why Do the Heathens Rage?" by Mark Allen Davis, illustrated by Edd Vick; "Windows of the Soul" by Mark Allen Davis, illustrated by Dan Canaan; "Anniversary Bash, Chapter 4: The Cold Light of Stars" by David Dailey, Edd Vick, Gene Breshears, Jeff Cornish, and Kristin Fontaine, illustrated by Chas P.A. Melville.
Information: "Chronological Index of Stories" Includes all stories published in Tai-Pan 'zines to date, in order of the universe's timeline.
First printing: March, 1999
Chuck's review: "Phantom Pain" - The events of this story tie in with a couple of other past stories, most notably the infamous New Queensland incident. In the wake of losing his legs, MacQuarrie learns to adapt and deals with the prospect of regenerating new legs in time. But there are always complications.

"Why Do The Heathens Rage?" - Mark continues his Vashti saga. This is a cool series of stories, that I find fascinating. Vashti, the ultimate hard-nosed worldly wise skeptic forced by circumstances into making a kind of religious pilgrimage as she seeks for a way off of a planet she despises. You can sense that Vashti is intrigued by religion and its almost mystical appeal, but in the end she's too hard-headed and too fully ground in the real world to believe much of anything. In this chapter she is pursued by an assassin and picks up a new musical instrument.

"Windows Of The Soul" - Who does short-shorts? Mark does short-shorts! And he does it -again- with a little tale of how well Rasputin -really- knows his crew.

"Anniversary Bash" pt 4 - This is the episode where everything blows up. Ships exploding and crashing into one another on the docks, the Tai-Pan taking off with only three or four crew onhand, buildings falling over, people running around screaming... We could have made a movie of it. (None of my scenes are in this chapter... but I drew the pictures.)

Best stand-alone filler illo: Kita Vitarre, as done by Annette Pschirrer. Very cute portrait, very bold.
$ 6.00
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Reviews courtesy of Mark "Miko" Allen Davis, Chuck Melville, C.D. Woodbury, and Jared "Scirocco" Robertson.